To combat supply chain issues and rising food costs, Au Bon Pain launched its first-ever “Sandwich Madness” contest, which enlisted its 3,000-plus sandwich makers, bakers and café employees across the nation to submit a sandwich recipe and menu description. Contestants competed in three brackets, with two winners emerging in the Championship round.
Today the bakery-café chain announced the winners — The Ranchero Wrap and The Cleveland Fireside Egg Sandwich. Both will be featured as upcoming limited-time offers (LTOs) in late 2022.
“Inflation and supply chain issues challenge all restaurants,” says Au Bon Pain corporate chef Anne Riley. “By tapping into our employees and their creativity with ingredients, we can offer new, craveable sandwiches without straining resources.”
A panel of expert judges, including Riley, named the winning sandwiches from 45 contest entries.
The Ranchero Wrap is a hot wrap featuring BBQ marinated chicken, a three-cheese blend, red bell peppers, tomatoes, red onions, arugula, ranch dressing and chipotle mayo on a whole wheat tortilla. It was co-created by Genisis Santos and Laura Lopez from Au Bon Pain’s bakery café at Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue in New York City.
The Cleveland Fireside Egg Sandwich is a breakfast sandwich featuring eggs, hardwood smoked bacon, swiss cheese, tomatoes, sliced jalapenos, spinach and chipotle mayo on ciabatta. It was co-created by Michael Thomas and Michellica Burson from Au Bon Pain’s bakery café at 600 Superior Avenue in Cleveland.
In addition to having their sandwiches featured as an upcoming LTO, each winner received a cash prize and a special trophy featuring their recipes.
Employees from many of the brand’s 119 US-based franchise- and corporate-owned locations submitted a recipe
“Our teams responded with such excitement and creativity. We received so many delicious recipes,” says Riley. “Seeing both corporate-owned and franchise cafes enthusiastically collaborate made for a fun competition that will bring even more mouth-watering recipes to our guests.”